Southern districts of Tamil Nadu have immense potential to make use of biomass to generate power on a large scale. The raw material for biomass gasifier plants is available in abundance in the south especially in the Ramanathapuram district, according to Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) Deputy General Manager of Madurai Region, S.E.S. Syed Ahamed. The Madurai Region of TEDA covers 16 districts of south and central Tamil Nadu.
Mr. Syed told The Hindu that ‘Seemakaruvellai’ plant, which is the main fuel for the gasifier unit, grew in abundance in the southern districts.
A 11 KW biogasifier unit installed at Bharathiar Community Centre in Tuticorin district in the last week of December for irrigation and lighting purposes has been functioning successfully.
The plant was designed and installed by Ankur Scientific Energy Technology of Vadodara in Gujarat. Of the total cost of Rs. 4.5 lakh, a sum of Rs. 1.65 lakh was provided in Central Financial Assistance from the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy under the ‘Western Ghats Development Programme’
with the funds routed through TEDA.
The plant has been functioning efficiently and resulting in significant economical savings for the Bharathiar Community Centre Trust.
He said that similar biomass gasifier plants are functioning at T. Kallupatti in Madurai district and Melakavanoor in Paramakudi with the power generated being evacuated to Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB).
“Biomass is among the cheapest methods of power generation and is probably requires the least capital among the renewable energy source. While 1 MW of power generation through solar requires Rs. 16 crore investment, biomass units would require much lower sums,” he said.
He said that it can also be an effective alternative to cooking gas. Giving an example, he said that one hour of cooking gas can be generated from 10 Kg of firewood, costing only around Rs. 20. A cylinder having 19 kg of cooking gas costs around Rs. 1,080 for commercial purposes.
“The TEDA is ready to extend the requisite technical assistance to commercial and educational institutions that are willing to take up to biomass and other renewable energy sources,” informed Mr. Syed.